Cross posted at The Progressive Zionist
Anyone who knows DKos I/P knows that I am a supporter of the existence of Israel as the National Homeland and State of the Jewish People. I am proud to be called a Zionist and I believe that the Jewish people have a very legitimate right to self-governance in their own National setting.
That said.... I cannot accept, condone, or support the idiocy of Newt Gingrich and his latest bigoted comments regarding the Palestinian people as an "invented people". The gall of this man to pander to the worst elements of the American Jewish and Evangelical Christian polity seems to know no bounds.
What brings on this rant? An interview that the Republican nominee gave to the Jewish Channel.
In that interview Gingrich (and notice I don't use the word "Mr.") had this to say:
Gingrich differed with official U.S. policy that respects the Palestinians as a people deserving of their own state based on negotiations with Israel.
"Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire" until the early 20th century, Gingrich said.
"I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it's tragic," he said.
Unbelievable.... Like when people of good conscience stood up to Israeli non-Zionist Shlomo Tzand and his garbage regarding the Jewish people as an "invented people" so should people of good conscience stand up to Newt Gingrich when he claims the Palestinian people are an "invented people".
Now it is true that there has never been a nation of Palestine and the district has been controlled by outside forces (Ottomens, Romans, Arab Caliphates etc.... ) that does not mean that the people inhabiting that area for thousands of years do not have their own distinct cultural patterns that while Palestinians are Arab peoples they are their own distinct nationality within that group.
Here is a brief history on Palestine:
The term Peleset (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in numerous Egyptian documents referring to a neighboring people or land starting from c.1150 BCE during the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. The first mention is thought to be in texts of the temple at Medinet Habu which record a people called the Peleset among the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt in Ramesses III's reign. The Assyrians called the same region Palashtu or Pilistu, beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c.800 BCE through to emperor Sargon II in his Annals approximately a century later. Neither the Egyptian or Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.
The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the region synonymous with that defined in modern times was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece. Herodotus wrote of a 'district of Syria, called Palaistinê" in The Histories, the first historical work clearly defining the region, which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley. Approximately a century later, Aristotle used a similar definition in Meteorology, writing "Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine, such that if you bind a man or beast and throw it in it floats and does not sink, this would bear out what we have said. They say that this lake is so bitter and salt that no fish live in it and that if you soak clothes in it and shake them it cleans them," understood by scholars to be a reference to the Dead Sea. Later writers such as Polemon and Pausanias also used the term to refer to the same region. This usage was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. Other writers, such as Strabo, a prominent Roman-era geographer (although he wrote in Greek), referred to the region as Coele-Syria around 10-20 CE. The term was first used to denote an official province in c.135 CE, when the Roman authorities, following the suppression of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, combined Iudaea Province with Galilee and other surrounding cities such as Ashkelon to form "Syria Palaestina" (Syria Palaestina), which some scholars state was in order to complete the dissociation with Judaea.
So while there was no formal Palestine as a nation it was certainly regarded as a separate district within the ruling polity and it's people were considered a unique people. Further, food, use of language and cultural customs were all developed along those lines.
But Newt doesn't just make his bigoted comment... he doubles down with claims that Palestinians had many places to go in the conflict with Israel and didn't take advantage of that. Well, again Newt's vaunted history degree fails him. As history shows us the exact opposite was the case. After rejection of the U.N. Partition by the Arab Polity in 1948 and the loss of the War of Independence, the Palestinian people that left, or were forced out of their homes had no where to go except to squalid refugee camps to be abused by their brethren in other nations.
Gingrich should know that the Palestinians could not just up and leave their homes and have many places to go. While I believe that fighting the War and not accepting the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 was a tragic mistake, one need not minimize the trauma of that War and it's aftermath.
With this statement Newt Gingrich shows just how unfit he is to be the leader of the United States. I say this as a Zionist, and supporter of Israel. We don't need or want racist meme's and bigotry to support the maintainence of Israel. We want a President who understands that Peace between Palestinians (and Arabs overall) and Jews is the priority and that real measures that increase both people's security and well being are what will accomplish that goal.
Please join with me in turning away from Gingrich's comment and towards supporting secure States for both the Jewish and Palestinian people.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace.